Another Study Fuels Speculation US Kids Being Overdrugged
Released on: October 21, 2008, 11:48 am
Press Release Author: Citizens Commission on Human Rights
Industry: Non Profit
Press Release Summary: The recent study, "A three-country comparison of psychotropic medication prevalence in youth," found U.S. children were up to three times more likely to be on psychiatric drugs than children in Germany or the Netherlands. Additionally, a report issued in May in the journal Pediatrics found U.S. children are 6 times more likely to take antipsychotic drugs than children in the UK. The psychiatric watchdog organization, Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR), says that both these reports fuel current speculation in the United States regarding the fact that pharmaceutical funding heavily influences psychiatrists' prescribing habits in the U.S.
Press Release Body: This concern was called into serious question after it was revealed that psychiatrists top the list of all medical professionals getting drug company funding in the two states that require such reporting, Vermont and Minnesota. A report made by the Vermont Attorney General on Pharmaceutical marketing disclosures, revealed that $3 million was spent on drug promotions in Vermont in 2007. A New York Times article on these reports found that "psychiatrists who took the most money from makers of antipsychotic drugs tended to prescribe the drugs to children the most often." An article in the Vermont Rutland Herald quoted Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell, "It is particularly troubling that the industry is paying large sums of money to influence prescribing practices involving psychiatric drugs."
Examples of how high profile psychiatrists influence prescribing by heavily promoting the use of psychiatric drugs include child psychiatrists Melissa DelBello and Joseph Biederman. Last year, a Senate investigation into pharmaceutical payments to medical researchers revealed that DelBello had under-reported $180,000 that she made from AstraZenca, the maker of the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel, in 2003 and 2004. An August 2007 New York Times story reported that DelBello's studies of Seroquel have "helped fuel the widespread pediatric use of antipsychotic" drugs. The results of her studies were inconclusive, but, according to the Times, "she has described them as demonstrating that Seroquel is effective in some children." Harvard Medical School Professor of Psychiatry, Joseph Biederman, whose work was reported by the New York Times to have "fueled an explosion in the use of powerful antipsychotic" drugs in children, failed to report $1.6 million in consulting fees he earned from drug makers that he conducted research for between 2000 and 2007. One example is Johnson & Johnson, whose Janssen Pharmaceutica branch sponsored a clinical study into the effects of the antipsychotic Risperdal on children, which Biederman led between 2002 and 2005. Biederman reported to Congressional investigators that in 2001, he received only $3,500 from the company, but reports from Johnson & Johnson showed that they had in fact paid him over $58,000 that year.
In a June 2007 Boston Globe article entitled "Misguided standards of care," Dr. Lawrence Diller, who practices behavioral and developmental pediatrics in Walnut Creek, CA, and the author of The Last Normal Child: Essays on the Intersection of Kids, Culture and Psychiatric Drugs, charged Biederman and his colleagues at Harvard as "the professionals most responsible for promoting...diagnosing preschool children as young as 2 with bipolar disorder and treating them with multiple medications." Biederman has been largely responsible for promoting "bipolar" disorder as justification for administering powerful antipsychotics to children. According to Diller, the ultimate absurdity is "diagnosing bipolar disorder in 2 year olds" and "saddling young children as chronic mental patients condemned to a lifetime of psychiatric drugs." The capacity to pathologize behaviors in order to justify prescribing drugs is not exclusive to Dr. Biederman - psychiatry's entire foundation rests on this premise.
Unlike medical diseases, which are discovered through verifiable physical conditions or abnormalities, disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) are invented by codifying key behaviors and repackaging them as diseases: literally voting them into existence by a show of hands from DSM task force members. The influence of pharmaceutical funding over these task force members in "creating" the disorders was exposed in a 2006 study reported in a USA Today article entitled "Study: Medical manual's authors often tied to drugmakers," which revealed that 56% of the medical experts who created the two most recent editions of the DSM had one or more financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Researchers also found that some panels overseeing disorders that require treatment with prescription drugs, - such as schizophrenia and "mood disorders" - were 100% filled with experts financially tied to the pharmaceutical industry." According to IMS Health, antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs, which are used to treat "mood disorders," have sales around $40 billion a year worldwide. A 2007 study based on hospital discharge records referenced in a story entitled, "Debate Over Children and Psychiatric Drugs" in the New York Times, also noted that "the practice of aggressive drug treatment for young children labeled bipolar has become common across the country. In just the last decade, the rate of bipolar diagnosis in children under 13 has increased almost sevenfold...."
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International says that the DSM is the basis of needless, rampant drugging by psychiatrists, and because of this the DSM panel members should be investigated for their financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry and has a website documenting this unholy alliance psychconflicts.org. Recently, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has revealed that more than half of the 28 new members of writers of the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) DSM have some financial connection to the drug industry, and the conflicts of interest ranged from small to extensive. John M. Grohol, Doctor of Psychology, said, "Remember, many of the experts chosen to sit on these committees are the same professionals who have made their livelihood studying these disorders. Nobody's career is going anywhere if the disorder they've dedicated their life to researching is suddenly downsized or kicked out of the DSM altogether."
When psychiatrists sitting on DSM panels are funded by pharmaceutical companies that must have new disorders in order to market their drugs, there can be no denying that a conflict of interest exists. Without any blood test, brain scan, x-ray or lab test that can verify any mental disorder on par with regular diseases or illness, psychiatrists can pathologize any behavior and repackage it as a disease, while getting paid by the pharmaceutical companies that create the drugs to treat them.
This message is a public service announcement provided by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHR(r)). CCHR was established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights. For more information go to www.cchr.org or www.psychconflicts.org.
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Web Site: http://www.cchr.org/index.html
Contact Details: CCHR International, 6616 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 800-869-2247, 323-467-4242, FAX 323-467-3720